Brad Feld needs no introduction. I love this guy. Intense, open, and definitely thinking about the right things. If you want to learn more about Brad, check out www.feld.com/. He’s also written a bunch of great books that I strongly recommend. I am truly humbled and honored that Brad took some time to share some of his thoughts on the questions other entrepreneurs have been answering on this site. Here we go….
What do you do as an entrepreneur to balance your most important personal relationships?
I have a series of daily, weekly, monthly, and quarterly rhythms that I use with my wife Amy. We start each morning with “four minutes in the morning”, where no matter were we are in the world – together or apart – we spend four minutes together. We finish the day with a few minutes together before going to bed. Whenever Amy calls during the day, I answer no matter what I’m doing (her ringtone, which she chose a while ago, is the Imperial March). We try to spend as much of each weekend together as things are very intense during the weekday. Once a month we go out for “life dinner” on the first day of each month. This isn’t “date night” but rather a chance for us to reflect on the previous month and look forward to the next month. As part of the life dinner ritual, we exchange a gift. Once a quarter, we go on a “Qx vacation off the grid” where I give Amy my iPhone on Saturday and she gives it back to me the following Saturday. We go somewhere and have a disconnected vacation – where we are just together, the two of us.
What is your exercise routine?
I’m a marathon runner so I’m always training for a marathon (I’ve done 24 of them). I generally try to run five days a week with long runs on the weekend. I like to swim, but don’t do it as often as I’d like to. I’ve never figured out how to do a consistent weight training routine – maybe v47 of me will figure it out.
What gives you the most personal energy?
I’m an introvert who functions extremely well in public settings. But to build up my personal energy, I need to sit quietly, either alone or with Amy. I like dinners with one other couple, long runs, and lots of time on the couch reading next to my awesome wife and dog Brooks.
What do you avoid because it drains your personal energy?
I don’t really avoid anything, but my normal routine, which includes a large amount of public activity, group meetings, and endless real time interactions, really drains me.
What are your most proud moments regarding your own legacy?
I don’t think of myself in the context of having a legacy. I live in the moment, and try to do my best all the time with what I’ve got in front of me.
How do you find ways to help others and give back?
Amy and I have been very public and visible about giving to a wide variety of causes. Our goal is to give away all of our money while we are alive – we view the money as a tool to help us contribute what we want to the world. We also love to do things randomly – we call them random acts of kindness. They range for paying for dinner anonymously for the young couple on a date in a restaurant we are in to funding undergraduate education for amazing people we know who can’t afford the school they want to go to.
Do you have written personal core values, what are they?
I have a deeply held belief in “giving before you get.” I am willing to put energy into any relationship without any specific expectation of what I’m going to get in return. This isn’t altruism – I expect that the return I get across the sum of all the energy I put into things will dwarf what I put in – and it has over the 30 years of my adult life. However, I don’t need to define the transaction dynamics up front – I think this limits what you get out.